Saturday, October 11, 2014

Register for the "Getting Started with Online Lessons" Training Webinar!

Do you want to…
  • stop teaching makeup lessons?
  • learn about the setup and implementation of online lessons? 
  • develop a contemporary and cutting-edge studio?
  • enhance your teaching and maximize your teaching efforts? 
  • be the most forward-thinking and trend-setting teacher on the block?
  • increase your client base, teaching hours, and income?
  • offer experiences to your students that they will remember for years to come?
  • gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to start teaching online lessons? 

Did you answer "YES" to these questions? Then you’ve come to the right place! I'm so excited to announce that this brand new training webinar, "Getting Started with Online Lessons", will be presented LIVE to you in the comfort of your own home! 

What will I learn in this webinar?
This webinar will train you in the setup and implementation of online lessons, which will help you develop a contemporary and cutting-edge studio. You will learn about the equipment and tools you need to begin teaching online lessons. You will learn how to use these tools effectively to enhance your teaching, increase your income, and maximize your teaching efforts. If you want to be the most forward-thinking and trend-setting teacher on the block, if you would love to increase your client base, teaching hours, and income, and if you want to offer experiences to students around the world that they will remember for years to come, then online teaching might be just what you’ve been looking for! Join me as I answer your burning questions about online lessons, help you gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to start teaching online lessons, and help you discover ways to expand your studio offerings, set your studio apart, and take your studio to the next level! 

What topics will you cover? 

  • Pros and Cons of Online Lessons
  • Setting Up Your Online Teaching Equipment: The Basics
  • Setting Up Your Online Teaching Equipment: Add-Ons to Enhance the Lesson Experience
  • Considering Your Client Base
  • Policy Information for Online Students
  • Payment Information for Online Students
  • Teaching Tips for Online Lessons
  • Games and Activities for Online Students
  • Bonus Information and Gift for All Attendees
  • Q&A 

How much is the investment? 
The regular price of this webinar is $69. Attendees who register in the first 24 hours can enter coupon code REGISTERNOW14 at checkout to take $10 off the total price, so hurry and submit your registration today! With the coupon code, valid only for 24 hours, the price is $59. 

Seating is limited to the first 25 teachers who register. 

When is the webinar? 
Monday, October 27, 2014, 1:00-2:40 p.m. Eastern Time (I'm in the same timezone as New York City). 

What if I can't attend the live webinar? Will it be recorded?
Absolutely. If you can't attend in person, you'll be able to watch a video of the webinar for a short time after October 27th. You must be registered to access the video, and everyone who is registered will receive information about how to view the video when it's available. 

I've never attended a webinar before. Is it easy to sign up? 
Yes, it's really very easy. You'll receive instructions and additional information via email from AnyMeeting after you register. Helpful information for attendees can be found here. There's also a list of helpful connectivity tips here. If your computer has a firewall, you'll have to set it up to allow incoming connections from AnyMeeting Launcher, and I'll be glad to help you do that if you need help. If you still have questions, you are welcome to email me at and I'll be happy to help you. 

Do I have to watch the webinar on my computer? 
You can view it on your computer/laptop if you like, but you can also view it on your tablet or smartphone. All you'll need to do is click the link provided in the email you received after you registered and enter the password you chose during registration. You can even call in and listen on your phone if you prefer. 

I'm ready to learn how to teach online lessons! How do I register?
Click the photo below and you'll be taken to the online registration form where you'll register for the webinar and pay via PayPal. Don't forget to enter the coupon code! 

Join me, and let's get started with online lessons!

Click the photo to REGISTER TODAY, fill out the online registration form, and remember to enter coupon code REGISTERNOW14 to save $10 for the first 24 hours only! Be sure to click the statement next to the coupon code box to APPLY the code, then click the PayPal button to complete your registration! 
You can still complete the registration process by logging into PayPal, even though the Terms error is appearing after you check the box. The AnyMeeting team is aware of the issue and is working to fix it. Please go ahead and login to Paypal and submit your payment so that your registration is complete. 

There is an incompatibility issue with the Safari browser, so please use Chrome or another browser to complete the payment transaction. Thank you!  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Guest Post: The Long View by Dr. Steve Betts

It is my honor to introduce our next guest, Dr. Steve Betts, professor, mentor, and friend. 

The new school year brings new chapters in our students’ learning. Many students have probably had some kind of break over the summer and are ready for a fresh start in their piano lessons. As I have been thinking about my own students and this new year, I am contemplating the long view. What lifetime goals do I envision for my students’ involvement with music. The following ideas come to my mind; I’m sure you will have your own goals to guide your teaching this year.
An emotional connection with music
Throughout the world music provides joy, meaning, and enrichment to humans’ emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Music has the power to soothe, to celebrate, or to help us reflect. Does this emotional connection happen each week in our students’ lessons with us? Are there pieces, improvisations, or other activities that allow music to speak to our students’ lives? To facilitate this emotional connection several factors may need to be present:
Am I progressively discovering with each student what music speaks to them?
Are some of the pieces I assign at an appropriate level of difficulty (or non-difficulty) to allow artistic music making to occur?
Do my students and their parents know this is an important part of music study? Have I articulated this belief, or do I just expect them to “catch it”?
Proficient sight-reading ability
I believe strongly that proficient music reading ability promotes lifelong participation in music. While at a dinner with some faculty colleagues a few years ago, one of the spouses was commenting on how she had been a “successful” piano student—practiced diligently, participated and succeeded in auditions and recitals, and enjoyed her lessons. I asked if she played much as an adult and she said she did not play much now. When I asked why, she said it was because she did not read well enough. If our students are going to use the music making skills as they become busy adults, they need the ability to play through music without having to surmount reading challenges. It is so easy for the urgent pressures of auditions and recitals to squeeze out the important sight reading work. Is it easy to find time to sight read? No. Is it crucial? In my opinion, yes.
Character development and self-esteem
While the beauty of music study provides sufficient reason to study the piano, there are other positive aspects to music study. These are proclaimed often by educators, school officials, arts advocates, and media, and a list is probably not needed here. Because we often interact with students in a one-to-one relationship, I believe we have the ability to help music study develop true self-esteem. Self-esteem comes from giving your best effort and realizing the results of that effort. In his book Setting the Table, Danny Meyer discusses the concept of “constant, gentle pressure” in developing the employees in his New York City restaurants.1 Results come from work, and our students often need this constant, gentle pressure to keep moving forward. Of course, as students mature, the goal is for them to provide their own motivation to their lives. Music study can be an avenue to show students the possibilities their lives hold. What an honor and privilege to help guide them in this process.
The three concepts above are important to my philosophy of teaching. Your may have additional or different goals, but the start of this new teaching year offers an opportunity to reflect on how our students will engage with music the rest of their lives. Teach well.
1Meyer, Danny. (2006.) Setting the Table. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, p. 189. 

About the Author: Dr. Steve Betts is Professor of Music and Associate Dean of the Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA, where he teaches Applied Piano, Class Piano, Piano Pedagogy, and Piano Literature, and directs one of the university's women's choirs. He serves as a managing editor for Clavier Companion and is a contributing author to the Frances Clark Library for Piano Students

Friday, September 19, 2014

Teach Like A Pirate, Me Hearties!

Avast ye!! Did ye know that today, 9/19, is Talk Like A Pirate Day? Give your little buccaneers a fun way to review 48 music symbols with me brand new exciting pirate-themed Music Symbol Memory Match game! Aye, these pages feature buccaneers, pirate lads, and pirate lassies who are happy to help your young mateys get shipshape with a treasure of music symbols. 

This game, and many other pirate resources, are on sale for 50% off until midnight tonight! Search PirateMusicFlashSale at TpT to see all the goodies! 

Yo ho ho, here are some sneak peek photos of some of the freshly-printed pages from me fun new game!

This download includes 2 matching games: Game 1 contains two each of 48 different cards, and game 2 contains one card for each symbol and one matching card containing the music term. These two games are fabulous for music camps, group classes, or the elementary music classroom. The game also includes images to print on the backs of the cards - featuring all three composers! 

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen, mateys! Hurry over to TpT, and remember to search PirateMusicFlashSale to see a treasure trove of goodies! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review of Desirée Scarambone's "Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters"

Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters is a delightful book by Desirée Scarambone, cleverly illustrated by her husband Dr. Bernardo Scarambone. If you've heard of Memory Palaces, you'll be familiar with how this book is put together and how it helps students remember facts about composers, where they were from, their names, what era they lived in, and more. For students like me, who always had a little difficulty recalling facts such as names and places, this book will be a gold mine of information! By following the suggestions of the author, students will quickly learn about the master composers in a fun and engaging way, and they'll be thirsty for more. 

I won't give too much away in this review because the book is full of many wonderful memory aids, featuring composers in surprising and delightfully quirky situations! 

The way the author presents the years of each era is brilliant, the memory aids are perfect, and I absolutely could not put this book down once I started reading it. The illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the stories, the mental images the author creates are lively and vivid, and they are perfect for visual learners as well as kids who love listening to stories; they'll be loved and appreciated by all students who are learning about the master composers. Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters is required reading in my studio from now on! 

Who can use this book? Everyone! It would be an amazing tool in the studio as well as the classroom, perfect for a music history or composer unit, reviewing for a festival, used in a group music class or music camp, it could correspond with a bulletin board in your classroom or studio, serve as a substitute teacher activity, as a cross-curricular activity in which students could illustrate as they listen to the story, and so much more. 

Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters is imaginative, creative, pedagogically sound, and a valuable and amazing resource. Your students will thank you for helping them remember these important and musical facts in a way they never knew was possible. I recommend this book 100%. 

Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters is available for Kindle. 

About the author of Classical Composers: A Home in Your Head for the Musical Masters: Desirée Bradford Scarambone is a classically trained pianist with a profound love of teaching.  She is a professional piano teacher with over 15 years of experience teaching students of all levels. 
She earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Houston, Texas, where she studied with Ruth Tomfohrde, Timothy Hester and Horacio Gutiérrez, and pursued graduate studies in Piano Pedagogy with Dr. Melody Hanberry Payne at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi.  In the imminent future Desirée plans to begin the pursuit of a Doctorate of Philosophy in Musicology at the University of Kentucky. 
She is a member of The National Federation of Music Clubs, The American College of Musicians, The National Music Teachers Association and The College Music Society.  Desirée has served as an adjudicator for competitions and festivals, and her students have won prizes and honors for their performances. 
Her previous literary projects include the scripts and music for two children’s musicals commissioned and staged by the Blue Barn Theatre in Port Gibson, Mississippi.
Desirée currently lives in the beautiful Blue Grass area of Kentucky with her husband, professional pianist and professor, Dr. Bernardo Scarambone, where they homeschool their three children and teach full time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Guest Post: The Birth of a Classical Music Festival by Alex Underwood

I'm so happy to welcome our next guest in the Collaborative Journey Series: my friend Alex Underwood, a passionate and visionary choral conductor. 

This summer, I put together a concert series in my small hometown in Western Kansas. I envisioned a program that would serve a variety of purposes:

  1. Create high-quality live classical music for the people of Western Kansas
  2. Create an opportunity for high school students and community members to sing.
  3. Create an opportunity for undergraduate voice majors to have professional experience.
  4. Utilize many community performance spaces.
Russell Arts Council Summer Concert Series

Our first performance was with an 18-voice Chamber Choir made of singers who could read music. There were four undergraduate voice majors to serve as section leaders, while the rest of the choir was made up of music teachers, some of my former students, and a few trained community members. We had eight rehearsals to put together the 45-minute program, which included Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, and contemporary a capella music including a new work (a setting of the Gloria mass text) commissioned by a local composer, Michael Davidson, for the opening of the concert series. The performance was at St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church, a church with beautiful architecture and reverberant acoustics that suited the ensemble and the repertoire perfectly. 

Our second concert, one week later, was a recital by the high school’s new vocal music teacher, Michael Davidson who happens to be a tenor with a Masters Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Kansas and the composer of the commissioned work. His entertaining program told the story of a vagabond travelling through life sharing the lessons he learned along the way. This concert was a positive introduction for him as a fully developed musician from whom the young people will be learning.

The third concert was at Trinity United Methodist Church, a hall with clear and clean acoustics. This concert program featured Carissimi’s Jephte and Bach’s Cantata 12. The chorus for both works was made up of only nine high school students, who worked tirelessly and truly captured the essence of the music. The undergraduate voice majors sang the arias in these Baroque works, giving them exposure to repertoire they don’t often sing; I offered them individual coachings to help them polish their work as well as help them understand performance practice. Though we used piano for this performance (instead of the strings and continuo both works are scored for), we did hire an oboist to play the integral parts of the Bach. 

The fourth performance, this time less than a week after the previous concert, featured the four undergraduates singing ten Brahms quartets and three pieces of solo repertoire: an Italian aria, a French art-song, and something lighter in English. The First Congregational Church, whose intimate space suited the repertoire, hosted this performance. Only one of these young people was from Russell, so it was exciting to watch the community show up and support these other singers.

The final performance, one week following the Brahms concert was our big finale. We hired an orchestra and professional soloists to do one rehearsal and two performances of Mozart’s Requiem with a Community Choir formed specifically for this performance. The four undergraduates served as sectional leaders for the choir while the soloists were all professional singers.  One of these performances was in a neighboring, larger community (Hays, KS) at the First Presbyterian Church with the final performance being in Russell at a Lutheran Church with space to house a large choir and orchestra.

The series was by all accounts a success. Each concert had about a hundred people in attendance, and the feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. I had one couple comment how nice it was to hear classical music of this caliber locally instead of having to drive two hours or more to see an opera, hear a symphony orchestra, or watch a ballet. The undergraduates shared how much they learned by working at a professional pace and how it built their confidence to continue pursuing singing as a career. The community singers expressed how nice it was to sing with an orchestra, to learn classical music and to have something positive to do with their time in the summer. The churches were so happy to host something of this nature in their space. Financially, we broke even, being able to pay our undergraduates, the soloists, the pianists, the orchestra, the conductors, the managerial staff, for all of the scores, and for the publicity. 

Next year, I hope to expand the program by hiring a few more artists to serve in leadership roles and produce an additional series to run along side the classical series, which will include a jazz concert, a bluegrass concert, and a musical theatre cabaret. I am hoping to make this festival a major venue for talented young people to get experience, network with other young musicians and move ahead in their careers. I am also hoping to get statewide attention for the festival in order to attract a larger audience base. 

Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, says that everyone loves classical music; they just don’t know it yet. I advocate this philosophy and find it overwhelmingly truthful. This past summer is evidence, that when passionate people come together to make music, we can guide each other towards the deep joy that music can provide.

About the Author: Alex Underwood is a choral conductor and music educator originally from Russell, KS. Alex earned an undergraduate degree from Sterling College (KS) in music education and voice performance before serving as the director of choral activities at Ruppenthal Middle School and Russell High School from 2008-2012. Under his direction, the Russell choirs and soloists earned top ratings at festivals and were selected yearly for all-state choirs. He earned the 2011 Young Director Award from the Kansas Choral Directors Association and the 2010 Horizon Award for first year teachers from the Kansas Department of Education. His work in the theatre includes direction of 30 productions and membership on the board of directors of the Russell Arts Council and the Russell Community Theatre. Russell High School’s 2011 production of How to Succeed in Business… earned 8 nominations and 4 wins at Music Theatre of Wichita’s Jester Awards. Alex completed a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting degree at Westminster Choir College, where he performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center under conductors Alan Gilbert, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Vladimir Jurowski. This summer, Alex returned to Kansas to serve as the artistic director of a classical music concert series in Russell. He is in his first year of study towards a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

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